What I’m Reading? Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

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With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine—Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart.

Dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom, Willowdean has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American-beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked . . . until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Teen Blue Bonnet Pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does.

Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

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Book Review: ‘The Alpha Drive (The Alpha Drive, #1)’ by Kristen Martin

kmthe-alpha-drive-final-front-coverSynopsis: In Kristen Martin’s The Alpha Drive (The Alpha Drive, #1), it’s the year 2055 and an anarchist organization has taken control with the aim to create a world-class society. Half of humankind is unknowingly living in an alternate reality called Dormance . . . and there are no plans to wake them up.

Sixteen-year-old introvert Emery Parker is one such dormant. An academic scholar who avoids ruffling feathers at all costs, Emery finds herself being transferred to a boarding school on the outskirts of Arizona. Little does she know; a family secret has the power to change the course of the future. When she’s approached with an opportunity to free the dormants, she sees no other choice but to accept, even though failure could mean having her memory wiped clean.

But when tech-savvy Torin Porter reaches out to her from the other side, Emery begins to question everything she was told about Dormance. If her family’s secret falls into the wrong hands, the world as she knows it will be faced with irreversible consequences. Now Emery must play both sides to uncover the truth about her family’s past or risk leaving mankind to live in an unconscious reality.

My thoughts: Word on Alphabet Street is The Alpha Drive is comparable in some way for fans of The Matrix and Divergent. NOOO, HONEY! It isn’t. Kristen Martin hasn’t just smashed the proverbial glass ceiling with her stunning YA debut – she obliterated it. Thanks to the incredibly gifted Martin the genre will never be the same. Nope, it won’t. Ever. Hallelujah! In fact, Martin’s contemporaries’ may soon find themselves getting scratched on the glass the new Princess of Fantasy has shattered to bits as they struggle to catch up to this ingénue’s level of commanding storytelling. Martin has writing skills, Martin has world building skills and Martin has character designing skills. Pfft! Martin has skills. Period.

Martin’s first outing is brimming with dynamic, intriguing and pulsating characters who take the reader along for the exhilarating ride – so readers, ya better buckle up. Martin’s strength glistens radiantly with the imagined world she detailed with expertise and grace. The Alpha Drive is a breathtaking cinematic adventure.

Readers, take heed, this is an extremely difficult book to put down. I started it at night and did not go to sleep until I finished it after two the next morning. I was snuggled in with my trio of blessings – two dogs and a cat – and flipped my Voyage like the book was going to vanish from my Kindle. Hey! Ya never know.

The Alpha Drive is brimming with a sundry of twists which smoothly propel the action. It is exciting, stirring and laced beautifully. Martin’s brilliantly crafted tension keeps the pages turning. YESSS, HONEY!

The Alpha Drive is a must-read for readers of all genres because it is such a compelling read. Martin’s style is impressive and the fact that she will only get better with each book she writes is an incredible gift to readers of epic fantasy and good ol’ storytelling.

There hasn’t been a writer in this genre to leave an imprint as powerful as Martin since Rowling. Yes, cookie cakes, that Rowling. J.K. Rowling. Marie Lu came semi-close with her Legend series, but semi-close is like the color beige – it’s just there. But when a vibrant color like turquoise or aquamarine – nope, not the same color, cookie cakes, not at all – comes along, beige blends into the background and tastes as bland as tapioca. Martin is turquoise. Martin is aquamarine. However, Martin is not Rowling. Martin is Martin – Kristen Martin.

Martin’s enchanting writing created its own imprint in this inundated arena. Let’s be honest, cookie cakes, there is one Rowling, one Serling, one Lucas, one Spielberg, and now there are two Martin’s – George and Kristen.

Welcome, Kristen Martin, to your throne and your new Kingdom. And to think, this is her first novel. Her debut! WOW! I cannot wait to get my hands on a copy of the second installment in this ingenious and intricately plotted trilogy, The Order of Omega. I cannot wait until November 8th.

And if she heads east on a book tour – I am going to be putting out a Call to Action for smelling salts. Kristen Martin is an auto-buy, an inspiration and a friend in my head. Hey, if Wendy Williams can have them, so can this New York/ Jersey hybrid. Just sayin’!

Here’s to many, many many, more books from Kristen Martin. Embrace your moments, Kristen Martin, the best is yet to come.

Copyright © 2016 by Diane Morasco

Review first appeared on Blogcritics.

eBook Review: Rosolio Red by Traci Andrighetti

RosolioRedSynopsis: With Christmas around the corner, Franki Amato’s got visions of her sugarplum, Bradley Hartmann, dancing in her head. Now that she finally has some time off from her PI job, she’s cooking him up a special holiday treat, and it’s not figgy pudding. Her Yuletide plans are dashed, however, when her meddlesome Sicilian grandma goes missing, and she has to hurry home to Houston to investigate. All the evidence points to foul play, but then there’s a bizarre break in the case—one that makes her wonder whether her notorious nonna has been naughty or nice.

My thoughts: Andrighetti is a bona fide comedian and if you want to assess that theory, please grab a copy of Rosolio Red and from the first paragraph you will know what I mean.

Andrighetti’s dialogue is genuine yet uproarious, and her glowing characters animatedly leap off the page.

Andrighetti’s sparkling wit keeps the hijinks brimming with merriment.

A mirthful, feisty heroine, a fun mystery exploration, diverting secondary players, ubiquitous comicality, sharp one-liners, and some famiglia make this Franki Amato holiday short story a definite homerun.

Rosolio Red is highly addicting, highly amusing, highly uplifting…and highly recommended.

Rosolio Red is engaging, robust and a must-read for bibliophiles looking to lose themselves in an inventive snack bite read!

 

Review first appeared in Long Island Book Reviews Examiner.

Copyright © 2016 by Diane Morasco